North American Transborder Freight Data

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Trucks Transported 60% of U.S.-NAFTA Trade in March 2013

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Figure 1.  March U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation
2004-2013
(March of each year)

Figure 1.  March U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

Trucks carried 60.0 percent of the $95.6 billion of freight moved in March 2013 between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, followed by rail at 16.5 percent, vessels at 8.1 percent, pipelines at 7.0 percent and air at 3.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (Figure 3). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.5 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in March, for freight flows with Canada, trucks carried 55.1 percent of the $54.3 billion, followed by rail at 17.9 percent, pipelines at 11.6 percent, vessels at 4.6 percent and air at 4.4 percent (Table 4). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.6 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

For freight flows with Mexico in March, trucks carried 66.5 percent of the $41.2 billion, followed by rail at 14.8 percent, vessel at 12.7 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipelines at 0.8 percent (Table 7). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.        

Beginning with January 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. Press releases and the now define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline.  Data on surface modes can be found in Figure 3 and in Tables 2, 3, 4 and 7.  See  on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004.

Figure 2.  Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows
January 2004-March 2013

Figure 2.  Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

The value of goods moving between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners by all modes of transportation decreased by 4.0 percent from March 2012 and rose 63.7 percent from March 2009 (Table 3).  Goods moving by truck, pipeline, vessel, and air each declined, while rail freight increased from the same month last year. Data in this press release are not adjusted for inflation, except for the monthly totals illustrated in Figure 2 for comparison.

The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, and unknown modes of transport.  Figure 3 below provides a breakdown by value and percentage of each mode of freight transportation used in moving goods between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners in March. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 83.5 percent of the total. By value, truck is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, accounting for $29.6 billion of exports and $27.7 billion of imports.

Figure 3. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, March 2013
Current dollars, Share of total

Figure 3. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, March 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

Freight flows on all modes of transportation between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners increased 8.0 percent in March 2013 from February 2013, measured in current dollars (Table 2).  Freight moving across the border by truck increased by 9.7 percent, while freight moving by rail increased by 17.0 percent from one month prior. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal factors such as the number of days in each month.

From March 2012 to March 2013, the value of freight carried by truck fell by 4.1 percent while the value of freight carried by rail increased 7.8 percent. For statistics by mode and individual NAFTA partner, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 7 for Mexico. 

In March, Michigan led all states in goods transported to and from Canada, at $6.5 billion (Table 5).  Washington had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 25.6 percent.  Illinois had the largest year-to-year decrease at 16.0 percent.  The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in March was vehicles (other than railway) moved by truck, valued at $6.0 billion, of which $3.6 billion was exported (Table 6).

Texas continued to lead all states in goods transported to and from Mexico by all modes of transportation at $15.7 billion (Table 8).  Louisiana had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 25.0 percent. California had the largest year-to-year decrease at 11.7 percent. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in March was electrical machinery moved by truck, valued at $7.0 billion, of which $4.4 billion was imported (Table 9).

Additional data adjusted for inflation and exchange rates can be found on the BTS website under . The BLS indexes used in the adjustments for inflation and exchange rates may be revised in each of the three months after original publication.

For more information, see TransBorder Press Releases  for previous press releases and summary tables. See for data from previous months, and individual state data.  BTS has scheduled the release of April TransBorder numbers for June 26.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

(millions of current dollars)

Month201120122013Percent Change 2011-2012Percent Change 2012-2013
January79,60887,49090,5129.93.5
February77,01589,38588,44916.1-1.0
March94,22899,51095,5665.6-4.0
April87,09792,199 5.9 
May91,12696,840 6.3 
June90,66394,200 3.9 
July84,95287,691 3.2 
August93,45094,593 1.2 
September90,77189,875 -1.0 
October91,83798,632 7.4 
November90,40194,877 5.0 
December86,77584,695 -2.4 
Year-to-date250,852276,386274,52710.2-0.7
Annual1,057,9241,109,988 4.9 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode March 2012February 2013March 2013Percent Change February 2013- March 2013Percent Change March 2012 - 2013
All ModesImports54,35647,64851,5428.2-5.2
Exports45,15540,80144,0247.9-2.5
Total99,51088,44995,5668.0-4.0
All Surface ModesImports44,68439,57343,84510.8-1.9
Exports37,02833,00935,9548.9-2.9
Total81,71272,58279,7999.9-2.3
TruckImports28,93225,00827,71110.8-4.2
Exports30,82627,23929,6198.7-3.9
Total59,75852,24757,3309.7-4.1
RailImports9,3528,77010,37718.311.0
Exports5,3134,7515,43814.52.4
Total14,66513,52115,81517.07.8
PipelineImports6,4005,7955,757-0.7-10.0
Exports8891,018897-11.90.9
Total7,2896,8136,654-2.3-8.7
VesselImports6,5365,4014,608-14.7-29.5
Exports3,2063,1993,142-1.8-2.0
Total9,7428,6007,750-9.9-20.4
AirImports1,6881,3781,4323.9-15.2
Exports2,2541,8492,08913.0-7.3
Total3,9423,2273,5219.1-10.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: : Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the "Data Fields" section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode

March 2013 Compared to March in…Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
2012-4.17.8-8.7-10.7-20.4-4.0
20111.420.0-0.4-15.0-16.31.4
201017.131.814.3-3.812.818.8
200952.3114.9108.42.299.863.7
200821.528.1-9.2-1.17.417.2
200716.826.745.18.931.121.1
200618.536.140.25.740.624.0
200535.653.870.219.475.843.1
200440.262.6129.521.2116.152.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode March 2012February 2013March 2013Percent Change February 2013- March 2013Percent Change March 2012 - 2013
All ModesImports29,26225,73328,29910.0-3.3
Exports26,20023,14126,04412.5-0.6
Total55,46148,87454,34311.2-2.0
All Surface ModesImports24,84522,21524,2589.2-2.4
Exports22,13419,19521,71613.1-1.9
Total46,97941,41045,97511.0-2.1
TruckImports12,27110,77911,98311.2-2.3
Exports18,62015,80717,94413.5-3.6
Total30,89126,58629,92712.6-3.1
RailImports6,1995,6636,53815.55.5
Exports2,9392,6483,19420.68.7
Total9,1388,3119,73217.16.5
PipelineImports6,3765,7735,737-0.6-10.0
Exports574739578-21.70.7
Total6,9506,5126,315-3.0-9.1
VesselImports2,3501,7581,9138.8-18.6
Exports406809614-24.251.2
Total2,7562,5672,526-1.6-8.3
AirImports9498509016.0-5.1
Exports1,6331,2771,51418.6-7.3
Total2,5812,1272,41513.6-6.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the "Data Fields" section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 5. Top 10 State Freight Flows with Canada by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by March 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

StateMarch 2012March 2013Percent Change March 2012- 2013
ValueRankValueRank
Michigan6,42716,48210.8
Illinois5,61124,7142-16.0
California3,90933,8293-2.0
Texas3,57043,4134-4.4
Ohio3,16853,17650.3
New York2,73562,7076-1.0
Washington1,83782,307725.6
Pennsylvania2,01971,8538-8.2
Indiana1,77691,7559-1.2
Minnesota1,553111,49310-3.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2013

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
TruckVehicles Other than Railway3,6322,3836,015
RailVehicles Other than Railway1,0452,5873,632
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes5785,7356,314
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes5731,7522,325
AirComputer-Related Machinery and Parts424147571

Source: Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.

Table 7. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode March 2012February 2013March 2013Percent Change February 2013- March 2013Percent Change March 2012 - 2013
All ModesImports25,09421,91523,2436.1-7.4
Exports18,95517,66017,9801.8-5.1
Total44,04939,57441,2244.2-6.4
All Surface ModesImports19,83917,35819,58712.8-1.3
Exports14,89413,81414,2383.1-4.4
Total34,73331,17233,8248.5-2.6
TruckImports16,66214,22915,72810.5-5.6
Exports12,20611,43211,6752.1-4.3
Total28,86725,66027,4036.8-5.1
RailImports3,1543,1073,83823.521.7
Exports2,3732,1032,2446.7-5.4
Total5,5275,2106,08316.710.1
PipelineImports242220-10.6-16.2
Exports31527931914.31.2
Total33930133912.4-0.1
VesselImports4,1863,6422,695-26.0-35.6
Exports2,8002,3902,5285.8-9.7
Total6,9866,0325,223-13.4-25.2
AirImports7395295310.5-28.1
Exports6215725750.5-7.4
Total1,3601,1011,1060.5-18.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the "Data Fields" section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 8. Top 10 State Freight Flows with Mexico by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by March 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

StateMarch 2012March 2013Percent Change March 2012- 2013
ValueRankValueRank
Texas17,459115,6671-10.3
California5,65624,9922-11.7
Michigan4,24334,43934.6
Illinois1,25551,498419.4
Arizona1,30041,33652.8
Louisiana85971,074625.0
Ohio98161,07079.0
Tennessee81387968-2.1
North Carolina643116269-2.7
Georgia60212615102.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 9. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2013

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,5404,4236,963
RailVehicles Other than Railway5792,9643,543
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes31920338
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,5592,2013,760
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts209165374

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.

Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017
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